Introduction

In attempting to understand and explain various behaviors, events, and phenomena in their field, psychologists have developed and enunciated an enormous number of "best guesses" or theories concerning the phenomenon in question. Such theories - it may be argued - involve speculations and statements that range on a potency continuum from "strong" to "weak." The term theory, itself, has been conceived of in various ways in the psychological literature. For instance, the following chronologically-ordered sample of approaches indicates the diverse concerns of psychologists vis-รก-vis the notion of theory. Warren (1934) refers to theory as a general principle or formula propounded for the purpose of explaining some given group of phenomena, and distinguishes it from the term hypothesis in that theory relates to a body of evidence that is more substantial than that of a hypothesis. Tolman (1938) states that a theory essentially consists of a set of "intervening variables" (i.e., constructs that mediate between observable-cause and observable-effect events).

Lewin (1943) analyzed both the basic structure of science (involving the three evolutionary stages/levels of speculative, descriptive, and constructive aspects), and the history of acceptance of new theories in science (involving the three phases of initial outright rejection, then the raising of contradictory objections, and finally general acceptance by scientists). In his theoretical developments concerning a "psychological field," Lewin stressed the notion that a "situation-at-a-given-time" actually does not refer to a moment without time extension, but only to a certain time-period - a fact that is of great theoretical and methodological significance for scientific psychology in general.

Skinner (1950) acknowledges that certain non-factual statements and basic assumptions - essential to any scientific activity - are sometimes called theories, but he then makes an interesting argument against the need for developing psychological theories, in particular, theories of learning. Although Skinner suggests that theories are "fun," he recommends that the most rapid progress toward an understanding of learning may be made by research that is not designed to test theories. Rather, according to Skinner, an adequate scientific program is demonstrated by the collection of experimental data showing orderly changes that are characteristic of the learning process - without the use of extra-dimensional systems and theories.

English and English (1958) view theory as a general principle, supported by considerable data, proposed as an explanation of a group of phenomena; and is a statement of the relations believed to prevail in a comprehensive body of facts. Theory is considered to be more solidly supported by evidence than is hypothesis; it is less firmly established than law; and it generally covers a wider range than a single law, which is usually limited to a single kind of relationship.

Maier (1960) tweaks our self-assurance somewhat, and humorously nudges us, when he suggests that a "good" theory can be expressed as a formula, and any theory that cannot be so quantified is inadequate - even if it works (!)

Marx (1963) asserts that there are various different meanings of theory, and these must be kept separate; for instance, he describes the following four aspects of theory: it may refer in a very broad sense to any characteristic of the formal, or conceptual, processes of science as contrasted with the strictly empirical, or observational, aspects; it may refer to any generalized explanatory principle (e.g., statements of functional relationship among variables); it may refer to a group of logically organized (deductively related) laws; and it may refer to summary statements which give order (in an essentially descriptive manner) to the cluster of laws which have been empirically developed in some subject matter.

Harriman (1966) considers theory to be a coherent explanation (of an array of logically interrelated propositions about a set of phenomena) which has undergone some validation and which may be applied to many data, but which does not have the status of a law.

Neel (1969) discusses the formal organization of psychological theory, as well as the logical, philosophical, and scientific conventions of theory construction.

Wolman (1973) characterizes theory as any scientific system that is comprised of empirical data derived from observation and/or experimentation, and of their interpretation. The set of statements of propositions explaining factual data is called theory. Wolman notes that some scientists start with empirical data whereas others pose several theoretical statements and deduce from them the empirical laws. Whichever way scientists proceed, however, a theory is a system of hypothetical statements concerning a certain area of scientific inquiry.

Marx and Goodson (1976) prefer to categorize scientific theories into three major types: deductive (i.e., derivation of empirically-testable propositions on the basis of logically-related prior premises), inductive (i.e., accumulation of disparate pieces of data that are turned into theoretical propositions without any explicit prior premises), and functional (i.e., use of small and modified hypotheses to study specific behavioral problems) theories. Marx and Hillix (1979) emphasize that no theory, whatever its qualities, is ever final, and always remains tentative - even though all the predictive statements made from it have been verified perfectly; that is, there always remains the possibility that any given theory will be replaced by another theory that is simpler, more general, or more consistent with other relevant theories.

Hillner (1984) views theory as a set of higher-order interpretive statements that is used to explain already verified empirical relationships, or to generate hypotheses subject to experimental test; further, a theory is a hypothetical device that resolves the nature of a given psychological fact or helps explain the particular behavior or experience generated in a given psychological experiment.

Reber (1995) suggests that the term theory has three distinct uses that range from the highly formal and precise of the philosophy of science to the informal and loose usage of popular language; essentially, and foremost, theory is a coherent set of formal expressions that provides a complete and consistent characterization of a well-articulated domain of investigation with explanations for all attendant facts and empirical data (theory, in this sense, is conceptualized ideally as beginning with the induction of a set of primitive terms or "axioms" which are used, in turn, to deduce "theorems" which are tested, subsequently, for their truth value, their factual-explanatory ability, and their ability to predict new phenomena not yet enunciated completely). According to Reber, a theory, pragmatically speaking, is also a general principle or a collection of interrelated general principles that is put forward as an explanation of a set of known facts and empirical findings, as well as, informally, a kind of catch-word for any reasonable set of ideas or principles. Reber observes that in psychology the pragmatic sense of theory applies widely to proposed explanations that fall well short of the formal criteria for meaning; for instance, Freud's theory of personality development fails the test of "unambiguous deduction of theorems," which is perhaps why many researchers argue that it cannot be rigorously tested. Nevertheless, notes Reber, many people still refer to Freud's propositions in this case as a "theory."

Church (1997) asserts that many theories in psychology are not fully specified. They provide basic concepts, and a general approach to an explanation, but they typically are not stated with sufficient precision that different investigators would obtain the same predictions and results using the same theory. Such a lack of clarity is represented, often, as a scientific virtue regarding one's unwillingness to make premature conclusions. At the early stages of the development of a theory this may be justifiable because it provides the flexibility that may encourage others to be creative with those theoretical concepts and approaches. However, this is a view of theory as a toy (with which to interact), rather than as a game containing rules.

Colman (2001) notes that theory in the fields of mathematics and logic is a coherent system of primitive concepts, axioms, and rules of inference from which theorems may be derived. Further, Colman defines theory (derived from the Greek theoria meaning "view" or

"theory," and from theoreein meaning "to view" or "to observe") as a proposition, or set of propositions, used as a conjectured explanation for an observed phenomenon, state of affairs, or event; he also defines grounded theory, often used in qualitative research, as a theory constructed from naturalistic observations of a phenomenon, and generally reflects the observer's/participant's own interpretations rather than those of the investigator or experimenter. Colman invites comparisons of the terms hypothesis and model with that of theory (where hypothesis is a tentative explanation for a phenomenon that is subject to criticism by rational argument and may be refuted by empirical evidence, and model is a deliberately simplified, idealized, or imaginary representation of a phenomenon containing basic properties that are explicitly defined, or sometimes even physically constructed, and from which other properties may be deduced via logical reasoning and/or empirical observation). Colman suggests that inferences from a model apply only to the model and not necessarily to the reality that it attempts to represent; however, if the model captures the important features of the phenomenon, then such inferences may apply equally well to the phenomenon itself [cf., Harre & Lamb (1983, pp. 397398) for the role of "models" in theories, and Rosenblueth & Wiener (1945) for the role of "models" in science].

Corsini (2002) states simply that theory is a body of interrelated principles and hypotheses that purport to explain or predict a group of phenomena that have been verified largely by facts or data; hypothesis is defined as a testable proposition based on theory, stating an expected empirical outcome that results from specific observable conditions; an ad hoc hypothesis is an explanation for a phenomenon when no theoretical explanation existed prior to the event, that is, a theory of explanation advanced after a fact; and metatheory is the science of theories, a set of rules regulating the construction of a theory, or a "theory about a theory." Furthermore, Corsini notes that a theory - in common usage and parlance - has been viewed as a guess, an opinion, a conjecture, or a supposition.

In my previous dictionary (Roeckelein, 1998), I review the tradition and practice in the psychological literature wherein psychologists' "best guesses" about certain psychological phenomena have been assigned to general descriptive categories involving labels such as "principle," "law," "theory," "model," "paradigm," "effect," "hypothesis," and "doctrine," and all of which involve theoretical statements (i.e., propositions indicating the relationships between cause-and-effect variables) to some greater, or lesser, degree.

In the present dictionary, I have adopted the strategy of lumping together all the various traditional descriptive labels regarding psychologists' "best guesses" under the single descriptive term theory. That is, whereas a "principle" or "law" is viewed traditionally, in science (including psychology), as the strongest formal statement of a cause-effect relationship, it may - at its foundation - still be considered to be a form of a theory (cf., Cummins, 2000; Foley, 1936; Johnson & Wilson, 1947; Simonton, 1995; Teigen, 2002). Likewise, whereas an "effect" or "hypothesis" is viewed, traditionally, as a relatively weak proposition of cause-and-effect regarding a certain phenomenon, it may - at its core - be considered, also, to be a type of theory. Additionally, because one of the characteristics of the science of psychology is the occasional tendency to "borrow" various theories from other sciences (cf., Roeckelein, 1997a,b), this dictionary includes a few theories that originated in sciences other than psychology but which, nevertheless, appear in the psychological literature (e.g., from biology - Darwin's evolution theory; from sociology - Comte's theory of a hierarchy of the sciences; from physics - Newton's law/principles of color mixture). Again, in the present dictionary, the descriptive labels of principle, law, theory, model, paradigm, effect, hypothesis, and doctrine are attached to many of the entries, and all such descriptive labels are subsumed here under the umbrella term theory. Accordingly, the title of this dictionary emphasizes the term theory (implying both strong and weak "best guesses") and is a way of indicating, overall, the contents of this comprehensive dictionary in a parsimonious and felicitous fashion.

It is my impression that although there are a number of excellent dictionaries of psychology available in the marketplace today that cover the popular and significant terms employed in the field of psychology, the present dictionary is unique in that it covers a very specialized area in the scientific discipline of psychology, viz., theories (both classical and contemporary) in psychology. To the best of my knowledge and awareness, there is no other dictionary of psychology, to date (with the exception of my previous work, Roeckelein, 1998), that is dedicated solely to the compilation of psychological theories [cf., Bothamley's (1993) multidisciplinary dictionary]. Furthermore, due to the proliferation of the "best guesses" and theories in the last half-century that have appeared in the psychological literature, especially, it seems to be appropriate now to provide both academic and non-academic readers with a useful one-volume book, as represented by this dictionary, that discusses psychological theories exclusively. The dramatic growth in the number of theories in psychology in the last few decades is probably due to the creative, imaginative, and personalistic nature of psychologists themselves. As one of my popular psychology teachers used to say, "One psychologist would rather use another psychologist's toothbrush than to use his/her theory!"

The seeds for this dictionary were planted firmly in my previous dictionary of psychological terms (Roeckelein, 1998) in which I attempted to provide theoretical concepts in psychology that are founded on empirical grounds. That is, I provide terms that have been identified or described explicitly as "theoretical" terms and concepts in the psychological literature. My choice of terms for my dictionaries is not based implicitly on a random, informal, or Alice in Wonderland type of approach where "a theory is anything that I say is a theory." Rather, my rule for the selection of terms to be included in my dictionaries is based on the usage of the terms in psychology as formal theoretical terms. The only exceptions to this rule are a very few "quasi-theoretical" terms that I include for reasons of novelty or creativity (e.g., Skinner's destructured learning theory), humor or frivolity (e.g., Murphy's laws; Parkinson's law; Putt's laws; Reber's law), and self-enhancement or self-indulgence (e.g., Roeckelein's law). Generally, I adopt a "consensual agreement" or "consensual validation" rationale in my work (i.e., a "theory" is any proposition explicitly so identified in the psychological and social/behavioral sciences literature). Moreover, the many "theories" contained in this dictionary may be located conjointly - and identified on a consensual or corroborative basis - via the references section provided at the end of each entry.

My overall goals in the present dictionary are to provide information on several levels wherever possible, including the origination, development, and evolution of various psychological terms, as well as the historical definition, analysis, and occasional criticism of psychological concepts. The references section at the end of each entry contains several important references -usually including the source article or book in which the particular term or theory was first introduced into psychology. Also, regarding the references sections - especially in several cases where there are more than just a few citations for the entry - I adopt the practice of arranging the references according to a "chronological rule" (i.e., earlier publication dates are listed first, followed by later publication dates) rather than employing an "alphabetical rule" (i.e., references are listed/ordered according to alphabetization of researcher/writer's last name). My purpose in this practice is to indicate and emphasize the evolution and development of ideas across a temporal dimension which seems to me to be more significant for the historical appreciation (e.g., concerning "intellectual proprietary rights" or origination of ideas) of theoretical notions than would be immediately apparent in an alphabetic arrangement of references. Thus, I argue - as indicated by this strategy - that a good dictionary should supply the key reference(s) or essential source(s) for the terms that are presented so that interested readers may have easy access to more detailed accounts of particular theories (cf., the similar approach used in so-called "encyclopedic dictionaries," such as that of Harre & Lamb, 1983). In the present dictionary, I provide a reasonable amount of cross-referencing for ease of identification and location of terms; and several appendixes are provided that contain additional information on the topics of illusions, humor, and imagery; also, for the interested reader and researcher, I provide a "Selected Bibliography - Psychological Theories" section that contains numerous citations and sources concerning basic, new, supplemental, and/or follow-up information on theoretical issues in psychology. I've categorized these sources as to content areas (e.g., abnormal, developmental, learning, social, etc.) and, generally, I've tried here not to duplicate the references appearing in the main entries section of the dictionary (however, in cases where duplications do occur it is to emphasize the importance, in my opinion, of those sources).

As regards the style in the present dictionary, there is some variation in length of entries due to the following reasons: the entry refers to a broad or general area (e.g., decision-making theories; learning theories; personality theories; audition/hearing theories; vision/sight theories; perception theories) and requires, necessarily, greater length in exposition; or the entry refers to a specific, narrow, or technical phenomenon (e.g., Maier's law; Mozart effect; Ribot's law; LotkaPrice law) that requires only a brief description. Moreover, when informal theories (e.g., some humor theories are given in epigrammatic or slogan-like phrases) are cited, the description/definition is likely to be shorter than when more formal theories (e.g., Freud's theory of personality, which contains numerous sub-concepts and terms) are described. When synonymous terms and related theories are used in the psychological literature, they are indicated here under each entry, as appropriate, with an = sign; for instance, Hering-Hurvich-Jameson color vision theory = Hering 's color theory = Hurvich-Jameson color vision theory = opponent-process color vision theory = tetrachromatic theory.

Finally, the result of my present approach is that many theoretical propositions, conjectures, speculations, and "best guesses" that are not identified and described in any previous dictionary of psychological terms are provided here. In this effort, I try not to sacrifice quality for the sake of quantity. I hope the reader - whether he or she is a layperson or a professional psychologist - will discover a satisfactory balance between these factors of quality and quantity in the present dictionary that is intended to be a comprehensive account of both classical ("historical") and contemporary ("current cutting-edge") psychological theories.

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